No sugar challenge week 5: sweet cravings
I was saved in the nick of time this week. Just as I was beginning to crave – and I mean really crave – sweet things, my pre-ordered ‘I Quit Sugar’ book by Sarah Wilson arrived in the post! Instantly, I have an abundance of quick, easy recipe ideas to keep me on track and off sugar. Between that and this month’s Gourmet Traveller magazine, I knew I could get through week 5
For a while there things were almost too easy. Family and friends would ask ‘How is the no-sugar thing going?’ And I’d be like, ‘Fine, I’m not even missing it at all, really’, which I thought was incredible considering I would have classified myself as someone with a sweet tooth. So I was a little shocked and, well, scared really, when all of a sudden I developed these sugar cravings. It was chocolate that I really wanted, and it seemed to be everywhere – I had Lindt balls, Ferraro Rochers and Darrel Lea chocolate in my desk draw at work and 9 blocks of white, milk and dark chocolate (I kid you not) teasing me from a shelf in the pantry at home that was within far-too-easy reach! I really need to give my work draw and pantry a detox!
‘There must be an alternative,’ I told myself. So I went to the health shop and bought a bag of raw cacao powder, which I planned to experiment with later. To tide me over in the meantime, I bought a block of dark, ‘no added sugar’ chocolate by Cocoa Farm. Although it contained just five ingredients, there was one – and it was second on the list (labels list ingredients from most to least used) – I had never heard of before. Slightly concerned, but not enough to miss the opportunity to purchase and wolf down some ‘good’ chocolate, I bought the 100gm block and Googled later.
The ingredient was Maltitol – an artificial sugar containing large molecules that the body can’t easily digest. Once consumed, these molecules end up fermenting in the large intestine, which can lead to gas, bloating, diarrhea, dehydration and headaches. Hmmm. I exercise extreme willpower and… Put. The block. Of chocolate. Down. I open the bag of raw cacao powder, lick my finger and take a dip. It is bitter but rich, chocolately and ever so slightly sweet-tasting! Ah-hah! In your face fake sugar! Kate – 1. Maltitol – 0. But now I have 10 blocks of chocolate in the pantry!
In week five I did the most experimental cooking since I started the No Sugar Challenge. I found great inspiration in this month’s Gourmet Traveller magazine and in the ‘I Quit Sugar’ book. And, needless to say, I had banana nut pancakes with chocolate coconut ice for breakfast the morning after my near-fake-sugar experience the day before But Sarah’s book – which I read cover to cover in one sitting – was a welcome reassurance by this stage, as I’d discovered I’m within the not-so-glamorous stage of the challenge.
Sarah talks about a detox period, where for a week or two I will feel like absolute crap as my body eliminates the last of some of the toxins that have been circulating since before I cut out sugar from my diet. Like clockwork, that stage is definitely now, in week five. Apart from the cravings – which are purely insane because my brain and stomach are telling me I’m full but something else inside of me is saying ‘eat the chocolate – eat it all!’ – my whole body aches.
Signs of sugar withdrawal / detox:
- Aching muscles aches (tick)
- Aching joint (tick – although my mind is alert, my body feels exhausted)
- Nauseousness (tick – it’s mostly been coffee that causes this symptom)
- Dizziness (not yet)
- Constipation (not yet)
- Aching kidneys (not yet).
Things Sarah says I can do to feel better and speed up the detox process:
- Drinking lots of warm water will help flush out the toxins (I’ve been drinking fresh lemon and mint tea)
- Acupuncture can help flush out toxins
- Visit a sauna and sweat out the toxins
- Calcium and magnesium, when consumed together, can help combat adrenal stress, curb sugar cravings and protect against metabolic syndrome
- Drinking green tea before meals can help reduce the GI of food intake
- Cinnamon (1 teaspoon per day) can help control blood sugar levels and stop sugar cravings.
Well, I made it through what I hope is the worst of it. Now I’m moving into week 6. This is all such a learning curve for me and I am constantly discovering new things and acquiring new knowledge. I love it!
What I ate for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks:
|Oats with rice milk, blackberries and strawberries, cinnamon and pecans||Banana nut pancakes with choc coconut ice||Fresh lemon and mint tea (early), bacon and scrambled eggs with white toast (1) + lemon and ginger tea||Fresh lemon and mint tea (early), banana nut waffles with choc coconut ice + Madagascan vanilla tea||Butter, vegemite and avocado on wholegrain toast (2) + fresh lemon and mint tea||Scrambled eggs & bacon + green tea||Scrambled eggs & bacon & white toast (1) + green tea|
|Macadamias||Almonds + black coffee||Leftover chicken meatballs||Almonds + black coffee||Black coffee and hazelnuts||Green apple with cashew nut butter||Pistachios|
|Chicken, baby spinach, capsicum, cucumber and cheese salad with almond mint dressing||Tuna and egg salad||Roast chicken with salad and almond mint dressing||Tuna and salad||Roast chicken, steamed eggplant, corn, squash and broccoli with almond mint dressing||Pastrami with hummus and quinoa tabouleh||Tuna, avocado and cheese on wholegrain toast (2) under the grill|
|Black coffee||Greek yoghurt and passionfruit (1)||Pistachios + black coffee||Greek yoghurt with blackberries||Greek yoghurt with strawberries||Rice crackers, carrot and celery sticks with hummus and basil pesto dips|
|T-bone steak with tomato and feta salad and pickled red onions||Chicken meatballs with lentil salad||Smoked salmon with baked sweet potato, steamed veggies and dressing(Dijon, soy sauce and olive oil)||Greek lamb with hummus and tabbouleh||Rissole (1) and sausages (2) with tabouleh and garden salad + vodka lime and soda (1)||Lamb chops (2) and rissole (1) with garden salad + vodka lime and soda (2)||Jerk-style pork chop (1) with baked sweet potato and steamed eggplant and snow peas|
|Craved chocolate! Made these instead||1 slice Jarlsburg cheese + green tea||1 cup cu-melon juice||Greek yoghurt and passionfruit (1)|